One of my favorite comfort foods is this clean non-fussy dish of Spinach Dal. This one goes way back from when I was a kid in India. Every Indian home makes very many kinds of ‘dal’ – a soupy lentil side dish which is a staple of every meal. This Spinach Dal was what my childhood friend Minoo’s mom cooked often. I remember spending long lazy summer afternoons (no tv or computers) at her house with the aroma of the her mother’s cooking wafting through. After a long work day, nothing feels as good as to have a bowl of this dal with rice or roti. Rich in protein and iron, this nutritious dal with the aroma of ghee, is always a standby. —Aditi Goswami
Cook dal in water with 1 tsp salt and the chopped tomato till soft and mushy. Add more water if it gets dry.
In a wok or a saucepan, add the oil and heat on high. Add the asafoetida, if using, and the whole cumin seeds to the hot oil till it sizzles and is fragrant, about 5 seconds (careful not to burn the spices).
Add the spinach and turmeric and cayenne and saute for a few minutes. Add the cooked dal and stir mixture well, adding more water if necessary. Bring to a boil and simmer for 7 mins at a medium simmer. Drizzle a tablespoon ghee on top.